the enneagram

Welcome! Ever want to know what makes you think, feel, and act the way you do? How your way of perceiving things, your reality, might differ from that of another person’s? Do you ever wonder why you behave the way you do, even when you know that it would be better to change? 

The Enneagram, a powerful and dynamic personality system that describes nine distinct and fundamentally different patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting, provides the answers to these questions and much, much more.

It tells us what motivates us, what basic coping strategies we adopt to survive and thrive, and what causes our relationships to flourish or flounder. In addition, the Enneagram provides a specific path of personal development and enrichment for each of the nine types — ways to discover our highest qualities and purpose in life.

What is the Enneagram?

The word “ennea” is Greek for nine and “gram” means a figure or something drawn. Hence, the Enneagram is a diagram or star with nine points representing the nine personality patterns. Each of these nine patterns is based on an explicit set of perceptual filters that determine our worldview. Underneath each of the nine patterns is a basic proposition or belief about what you need in life for survival and satisfaction.

As you discover your personality type and the underlying basic proposition, you will also discover what motivates you, your coping strategy, and keys to personal development.

9 Types of The Enneagram

Type 01: The Perfectionist

Believes you must be good and right to be worthy. Consequently, Perfectionists are conscientious, responsible, improvement-oriented, and self-controlled, but also can be critical, resentful, and self-judging.

Lost Essential Quality: An experience of the essential truth that all people are fundamentally one with each other and EVERYTHING IS PERFECT AS IT IS.

Compensating Belief: Because the world judges and punishes “bad” behavior, you must gain worthiness and love through being as good and perfect as possible.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Comparing self to others. Noticing error and correcting it. Suppressing anger and impulses. Being as responsible and right as you can be.

Trap: Endlessly trying to gain worthiness by being correct.

Driving Energy: ANGER, RESENTMENT, AND GUILT at things that are wrong or that don’t meet high standards.

Avoidance: Making mistakes, losing self control, being so wrong that you are unworthy.

Strengths: High integrity, concern for improvement, industrious, responsible.

Paradox: Although it seems like there is one right, best way to be, there are multiple right answers; what is right is not necessarily what is best.

Keys to Path of Development

  • Understand that correctness and rightness are not part of natural order.
  • Compassion for the self.
  • Recognize and minimize the internal critical voice.
  • Allow time to relax, to play, and to accept yourself as you are.

Ultimate Task: Reclaiming the sense of perfection in all things and everyone which necessarily includes accepting differences, mistakes, natural desires and the “dark Side.”

Type 02: The Giver

Believes you must give fully to others to be loved. Consequently, Givers are caring, helpful, supportive, and relationship-oriented, but also can be prideful, overly intrusive, and demanding.

Lost Essential Quality: An experience of the essential truth that all needs are satisfied through a UNIVERSAL WILL, a will greater than that of the individual.

Compensating Belief: To get you must give. To be loved you must be needed.

Attention/Coping strategy: Getting own needs met through being needed and actively giving to others. Focusing attention on others’ needs and repressing own needs.

Trap: Obtaining personal fulfillment through meeting others’ needs.

Driving Energy: PRIDE in being needed, even indispensable. Feeling you know what others need better than they know their own needs.

Avoidance: Disappointing others, becoming useless, being seen negatively in the eyes of important others, and getting rejected.

Strengths: Generous, sensitive, helpful, energetic.

Paradox: Giving more to others does not bring freedom and fulfillment for yourself, and being cut off from an awareness of own needs prevents you from obtaining the freedom and fulfillment you desire.

Keys to Path of development:

  • Pay attention to personal needs and wants.
  • Learn to receive.
  • Nurture a separate self.
  • Develop independence and autonomy.

Ultimate Task: Realizing that love is not dependent on being needed and developing a sense of humility that goes with not knowing what to give and being in need yourself.

Type 03: The Performer

Believes you must accomplish and succeed to be loved. Consequently, Performers are industrious, fast-paced, goal focused, and efficiency- oriented, but also can be inattentive to feelings, impatient, and image-driven.

Lost Essential Quality: A connection to a sense of universal HOPE that everything that needs to be done will get done according to universal laws or principles.

Compensating Belief: The world rewards doing, not being. To be loved, you become a little human “doing” instead of a human “being.”

Attention/Coping Strategy: Going for accomplishment, success, and a good image, since love comes from the approval generated by your performance. Focusing on tasks and goals, and pressing forward with little attention on your feelings.

Trap: Believing that becoming super-efficient will assure success, recognition, love, and acceptance.

Driving Energy: Deceiving yourself (SELF-DECEPTION)in order to accomplish the goal by altering yourself, giving a good story, and projecting a good image, hence deceiving yourself of your own true feelings.

Avoidance: Being a failure, becoming incapacitated by your own strong true feelings (an unconscious fear that you will be unable to accomplish anything).

Strengths: Achievement, competence, enthusiasm, leadership.

Paradox: Outer success does not bring inner fulfillment or the feeling of true well- being.

Keys to Path of Development:

  • Moderate pace.
  • Welcome feelings.
  • Understand failure is not disaster.
  • Realize that love is for you, not for what you accomplish.

Ultimate Task: Reclaiming the truth of the statement that love comes to you because of who you are not because of what you do.

Type 04: The Romantic

Believes you must obtain the longed for ideal relationship or situation to be loved. Consequently, Romantics are idealistic, deeply feeling, empathetic, authentic to self, but also dramatic, moody, and sometimes self-absorbed.

Lost Essential Quality: An experience of the ORIGINAL DEEP AND COMPLETE CONNECTION to everything.

Compensating Belief: A painful loss of original connection leaves a terrible feeling of deficiency and a sense that something vitally important is missing which must be regained.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Searching for the ideal love or circumstances that will make you feel loved, whole, and complete again. Putting attention onto intense feelings concerning that which is judged important and missing.

Trap: Trying to obtain the special, ultimate love or situation that will make you complete.

Driving Energy: ENVY AND LONGING, fueling the search for whatever seems necessary to make life fulfilling.

Avoidance: Being ordinary, deficient, lacking.

Strengths: Creative disposition, passion, empathy, emotional depth.

Paradox: Wanting what is missing perpetuates dissatisfaction with what already is present.

Path of Development:

  • Focus on what is positive in the present.
  • Be consistent in action despite fluctuating and intense feelings.
  • Recognize that feelings are not the only reality.
  • Appreciate the ordinary.

Ultimate Task: Reclaiming wholeness in the present moment by appreciating what is here and now and accepting yourself as you are, without needing to be special and unique.

Type 05: The Observer

Believes you must protect yourself from a world that demands too much and gives too little to assure life. Consequently, Observers are self-sufficiency seeking, non-demanding, analytic/thoughtful, and unobtrusive, but also can be withholding, detached, and overly private.

Lost Essential Quality: A sense of OMNISCIENCE; simply knowing there is an ample supply of knowledge and an abundance of energy for everyone.

Compensating Belief: The world demands too much from people and gives them too little, potentially resulting in a scarcity of resources.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Protecting self from intrusion and demands by cutting off feelings. Focusing attention on intrusions and detaching to observe. Becoming self-sufficient, seeking privacy, limiting desires.

Trap: Obtaining self-sufficiency will free you from needing anything from others.

Driving Energy: AVARICE (stinginess) for essentials that are perceived as being scarce, such as private time and knowledge.

Avoidance: Intrusion and demands by others leading to depletion of energy or to a sense of inadequacy.

Strengths: Keeper of confidences, knowledgeable, calm in crises, appreciative of simplicity.

Paradox: Striving for self-sufficiency cuts one off from essential resources and nurturance.

Path of Development:

  • Experience feelings in the moment.
  • Stay connected rather than withdrawing.
  • Allow more people into protective circle.
  • Reveal personal matters, express self.
  • Engage in physical activity.

Ultimate Task: Reconnecting to the energy of life force and heart-felt feelings, realizing that ample energy and resources are available.

Type 06: The Loyal Skeptic

Believes you must gain protection and security in a hazardous world you just can’t trust. Consequently, Loyal Skeptics are themselves trustworthy, inquisitive, good friends, and questioning, but also can be overly doubtful, accusatory, and fearful.

Lost Essential Quality: FAITH in self, others, and the universe.

Compensating Belief: The world is dangerous, threatening. People can’t be trusted. You must seek or defy security, avoid or face danger.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Becoming vigilant, questioning, or doubting. Scanning for what can go wrong. Seeking certainty either by defying security and facing danger (the counter-phobic style) or seeking security and avoiding danger (the phobic style).

Trap: Seeking certainty for which there is never enough proof.

Driving Energy: FEAR associated with all the possible dangers or hazards.

Avoidance: Becoming helpless and defenseless, avoided either by aligning with authority (the phobic style) or by defying it (the counter-phobic style).

Strengths: Spotting hazards, heightened intuition, loyalty, thoughtfulness.

Paradox: Trying to get too much certainty in an uncertain world creates more uncertainty and anxiety.

Path of Development:

  • Accept insecurity as part of life.
  • Develop inner faith in self, others, and the world.
  • Recognize that both flight and fight are reactions to fear.
  • Observe fear and calm it.
  • Move ahead in spite of fear.

Ultimate task: Reclaiming trust in yourself, others, and the world, and living comfortably with uncertainty.

Type 07: The Epicure

Believes you must keep life up and open to assure a good life. Consequently, Epicures are optimistic, upbeat, possibility- and pleasure-seeking, and adventurous, but also can be pain-avoidant, uncommitted, and self-serving.

Lost Essential Quality: The full spectrum of possibilities experienced freely and deeply through SUSTAINED CONCENTRATION.

Compensating Belief: The world limits and frustrates people and causes pain that can be escaped.

Attention/Coping strategy: Planning for pleasurable, positive, possibilities. Imagining and engaging in interesting activities and experiences. Focusing attention on multiple options and opportunities.

Trap: Keeping life up and idealized, believing suffering can be avoided.

Driving Energy: GLUTTONY for interesting ideas and pleasurable experiences, now and in the future.

Avoidance: Frustrations, constraints, limits, getting enmeshed in suffering.

Strengths: Playful, optimistic, inventive, life-loving.

Paradox: Seeking the positives of life and avoiding the dark side is itself limiting. Trying to avoid pain creates pain.

Path of Development:

  • Realize it is limiting to seek only the positive.
  • Make and fulfill commitments.
  • Simplify, live in the present moment.
  • Learn to reference to others.
  • Allow pain and uncomfortable emotions.

Ultimate Task: Recognizing the escapism in the pursuit of experience and idealized future plans. Reclaiming and accepting all of life in the present moment: pain, fear, and limits as well as pleasure, joy, and options.

Type 08: The Protector

Believes you must be strong and powerful to assure protection and regard in a tough world. Consequently, Protectors are justice-seeking, direct, strong, and action-oriented, but also overly impactful, excessive, and sometimes impulsive.

Lost Essential Quality: The knowledge that everyone begins in INNOCENCE and can sense the truth in all others.

Compensating Belief: This is a hard and unjust world in which the powerful take advantage of the innocent and impose their personal truths on others.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Becoming strong and forceful to gain respect. Imposing your personal will and truth. Using anger and confrontation if necessary. Denying personal vulnerability. Attention going to power, control, and injustice.

Trap: Gaining protection and prevailing through power and invulnerability.

Driving Energy: LUST FOR LIFE AND EXCESS: a big energy that fuels the personality.

Avoidance: Weakness, becoming vulnerable and powerless.

Strengths: Courage, fairness, magnanimity, intensity.

Paradox: Power creates counter-force. Vengeance leads to retaliation. Hiding vulnerability creates vulnerability.

Path of Development:

  • Reclaim innocence.
  • Learn how much force is necessary.
  • Moderate impact on others.
  • Appreciate others’ truths.
  • Allow personal vulnerability.

Ultimate Task: Reclaiming the ability to come freshly to each situation without prejudging and overpowering it and appreciating that truth exists in all others.

Type 09: The Mediator

Believes that to be loved and valued you must blend in and go along to get along. Consequently, Mediators are self-forgetting, harmony-seeking, comfortable, and steady, but also conflict avoidant and sometimes stubborn.

Lost Essential Quality: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, wherein everyone is of equal importance, belonging, and regard.

Compensating Belief: The world makes you unimportant and/or requires that you blend in.

Attention/Coping Strategy: Forgetting yourself and seeking belonging. Getting pulled away from personal priorities by external claims and priorities.

Trap: Seeking outside yourself for comfort and harmony.

Driving Energy: An INERTIA (SLOTH) toward yourself. Energy going into other people and many substitutes for your own priorities.

Avoidance: Conflict and discomfort by going along to get along, hence not getting dismissed.

Strengths: Excellent mediator, understanding, caring and supportive of others, adaptive.

Paradox: Neglecting yourself in pursuit of comfort produces discomfort.

Path of Development:

  • Make self important.
  • Set own boundaries, limits, priorities.
  • Love self as well as others.
  • Accept discomfort and change as part of life.

Ultimate Task: Reclaiming unconditional love for yourself and a sense of importance equal to that for all others.

Key Themes of the 09 Types

In a hologram, the whole picture is contained in each individual part of the picture. The part is in the whole and the whole is in each part. This being so, the understanding of type and its manifestations is contained in the basic proposition or the whole.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type One: The Perfectionist

The original undivided state of perfection in all things in each moment goes into the background in a world that you perceive judges and punishes bad behavior and impulse. Consequently, you come to believe that you can gain worthiness (love) through being good, correcting error, and meeting the requirements of the critical mind. Concurrently, you develop resentment and suppressed anger/guilt over impulse, bad behavior, and what is judged wrong. Attention naturally goes to error to correct.

The central issue for healing

From this basic proposition you can see that healing and development for Perfectionists primarily involves becoming less dominated by the dictates of the critical mind and, in time, regaining a sense of being an undivided whole. This means coming to appreciate that what is frequently judged as wrong is actually just different, something that deviates from an imagined ideal. Perfectionists need to learn to observe the critical mind and detach self-worth from it. The difficulty is not really so much in the high standards or even too many standards, but in their power in determining self-worth and dictating life.

The six requirements to which Perfectionists must commit

  • practicing release from the domination of the critical mind;
  • appreciating errors, mistakes, and imperfection as differences;
  • observing the constant monitoring for comparison purposes (monitoring for good/bad, perfect/imperfect);
  • welcoming anger and guilt as signaling “unacceptable” behavior (often what is forbidden);
  • practicing acceptance and forgiveness (not just improvement); and
  • integrating instinct and desire.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Two: The Giver

The original state of freedom wherein needs are met according to a universal will goes into the background in a world that you perceive is based on to get you must give. Consequently, you come to believe that you can gain love and have personal needs fulfilled through your own giving to others what they want/need and hoping these others give back. Concurrently, you develop a prideful energy of knowing best what others need. Attention naturally goes to others’ needs and desires.

The central issue for healing

The basic proposition shows that Givers must reclaim their freedom from the tyranny of a need-governed (driven) world, a world that will only approve of them, hence love them, if they fulfill its needs. This makes developing a separate self, and thus a sense of freedom, a difficult proposition. Since the needs and desires of others are endless, Givers never gain a sense of their own freedom from trying to fulfill others’ needs. To gain freedom they must learn to give what is needed and no more, pay attention to their own needs, and receive from others. They must come to realize that ultimately, needs are met by a greater or universal will and that self-worth does not depend upon being the agent of others’ fulfillment. Then giving can be done with the pure joy of giving for its own sake, freely and lovingly.

The six requirements to which Givers must commit

  • developing and maintaining a separate, integrated self;
  • releasing from the pride of indispensability;
  • freely giving and receiving without pride and expectations;
  • noticing signs of repressed own needs, especially using rising emotions as indicators;
  • balancing the active force which goes out to others’ needs with the receptive force which allows own needs to be met; and
  • spending time alone to develop independent interests and sense of separate self.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Three: The Performer

The original state of hope wherein things work according to universal law (i.e., are not dependent on the effort of the doer) goes into the background in a world that you perceive rewards doing, not being. Consequently, you come to believe that you can gain love, acceptance, and recognition through performance, doing, and success. Concurrently, you develop a go-ahead energy of self-deception in order to match to an image of success and approval. Attention naturally goes to tasks and things to accomplish.

The central issue for healing

The task for Performers is to not make life into tasks. Performers are not just human doings, but human beings. So the simple prescription here is: expand the range of pace so that you can slow the pace down enough to allow feelings to emerge and to realize that love and acceptance comes to you for being as well as doing. Performers depend on active force and mistrust receptive or passive force. Since Performers are hooked on producing and succeeding, they just do what it takes to get to the goal, automatically adjusting their image to become what they perceive as bringing the rewards. This is where the deceit comes in. Performers take short cuts and sometimes soften the truth to get the job done, which makes sense, since they focus on gaining approval and creating an image of success through the accomplishment of tasks.

The six requirements to which Performers must commit

  • slowing pace and increasing its range;
  • welcoming feelings, realizing that doubt and anxiety often arise first;
  • developing empathy and understanding;
  • developing receptive force and patience;
  • becoming truthful to yourself and your own true feelings:
  • allowing for failure.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Four, The Romantic

The original ideal state of deep connection to all things goes into the background in a world that you perceive abandons you, leaving something important missing. Consequently, you come to believe that you can regain the lost original ideal love or situation by finding that love or situation which is unique, special, and believed to be fulfilling. Concurrently, you develop envy and longing over what is idealized and unavailable. Attention naturally goes to what is missing of importance.

The central issue for healing

Ironically Romantics’ outward search for the ultimate ideal, deep heart connection, and complete fulfillment where nothing of substance is missing, serves only to perpetuate their dilemma. All the well-intentioned searching in the wrong place doesn’t give the desired result. It just creates more intense feelings of deficiency and longing. So the primary task for Romantics is to realize that wholeness and completeness come with acceptance and appreciation of what is here now in the present moment, from the inside out, not from the outside in. Disappointments and deficiencies are part of the fabric of life, not an indication of deficiency of being.

The six requirements to which Romantics must commit

  • accepting that wholeness and realness exist now in the present moment;
  • practicing self-appreciation based on what is present and not what is absent and what is, not what isn’t;
  • resisting domination by strong and fluctuating feelings while acknowledging their realness;
  • sustaining a steady course of action even in the presence of intense feelings;
  • filling in the middle by appreciating the ordinary or even making it extraordinary; and
  • disidentifying self- esteem from specialness and the extraordinary.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Five: The Observer

The original omniscient state of transparently knowing that the flow of universal energy meets real needs goes into the background in a world that you perceive demands too much or gives too little. Consequently, you come to believe that you can gain protection from intrusion and insufficient resources and assure life through privacy, self-sufficiency, limiting desires and wants, and acquiring knowledge. Concurrently, you develop avarice for time, energy, and knowledge. Attention naturally goes to intrusions and detaching to observe.

The central issue for healing

While we all have concerns with potential scarcity, with not having enough of the emotional connections and material supplies we need to sustain our life and well being, for Observers this became the central issue. As a consequence Observers retracted into the mind, learned to detach from feelings and emotional claims, and practiced conservation of energy by reducing needs and pursuing self-sufficiency. In doing this, they didn’t realize that they could end up with unrequited loneliness and even an impoverished life. For Observers, healing means reversing this process, although it may be counter to the way they’ve learned to feel comfortable in the world. Moving forward into life-giving energy and building emotional contact represent the key developmental issues. In associating into feelings, experience, and connection, more of life energy naturally is available.

The six requirements to which Observers must commit

  • recognizing and releasing the avarice for time, space, energy, and knowledge;
  • making the counter-instinctive move forward into life and feelings;
  • staying present, engaged with others;
  • sharing or giving more of yourself, while taking in more support from others;
  • recognizing there are ample resources, consequently practicing abundance; and
  • realizing that the flow of a universal energy is there to meet life’s real needs.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic

The original state of faith in self, others, and the universe goes into the background in a world that you perceive is hazardous, unpredictable, and untrustworthy. Consequently, you come to believe that you can assure life and certainty by gaining or defying security and avoiding or facing harm through vigilance, questioning, and battling or escaping hazards. Concurrently, you develop fear and doubt or just incessant questioning concerning what might threaten safety and security. Attention naturally goes to hazards and potential worst cases and how to deal with them.

The central issue for healing

With no other type is the task more obvious, more straight-forward, than it is for Loyal Skeptics. The child who experienced the world as hazardous, unpredictable, and threatening and fell naturally into fear and doubt needs to regain faith and trust in self, in others, and in the world. Faith is a big stretch for the Loyal Skeptic since faith is that which is not based on proof and occurs before proof. This means staying with situations requiring courage and going into fear. It means noticing and resisting the impulse to move away from fear (the phobic’s habit), or challenge fear (the counter-phobic’s habit). Either way the path of development goes right through fear and doubt. Loyal Skeptics need to realize that they already are super copers, and that they don’t have to keep proving themselves.

The six requirements to which Loyal Skeptics must commit

  • reclaiming faith in self, others, and the universe;
  • working at distinguishing true impressions from projections;
  • relinquishing the quest for certainty and control as a substitute for faith;
  • balancing the natural negative spin put on situations with positives;
  • welcoming in fear and moving ahead; and
  • becoming their own authority.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Seven, The Epicure

The original state of focused concentration called holy work or constancy with an ability to travel the spectrum of life fully and freely goes into the background in a world that you perceive frustrates you, limits you, and causes you pain. Consequently, you come to believe that you can escape frustration and pain and assure a good life by going into options and opportunities and adventures. Concurrently, you develop gluttony of the mind for positive possibilities and pleasures. Attention naturally goes to options and keeping life up.

The central issue for healing

For Epicures the central issue for healing may be more difficult to grasp than for any other type, because Epicures are being asked to welcome in all of life as it exists in the present moment–fear, pain, suffering, boredom, and limitation as well as pleasure, joy, excitement, and options. In the process, Epicures must ask themselves to reduce excess, delay gratification, and take only what really is needed. And they must ask themselves to empathize with the entire spectrum of experience in others and to care about others’ well-being in equal proportion to their own. Yet for playful, adventuresome, future-oriented Epicures, who habitually direct their outward-moving energy toward positive alternatives and possibilities, this task of deepening and simplifying life and of steadying attention in the here and now is just what is needed to make life whole.

The six requirements to which Epicures must commit

  • reducing excess stimulation and mental futurizing;
  • grounding in the present;
  • accepting pain and suffering as part of making life whole;
  • making and keeping commitments and agreements with self and others;
  • referencing to the desires and well-being of others in equal proportion to own desires and well-being; and
  • realizing that the full spectrum of life and deeper purpose includes the “darker side” of life — its pains, loss, suffering, and limitations.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Eight: The Protector

The original innocent state of sensing the essential truth in everything and in each individual goes into the background in a world that you perceive as hard and unjust and where the powerful take advantage of others. Consequently, you come to believe that you can assure protection and gain respect (worthiness) by becoming strong and powerful and by hiding vulnerability. Concurrently, you develop a big lustful energy. Attention naturally goes to injustices and to what needs control or assertiveness.

The central issue for healing

Since Protectors believe that they must be strong and powerful and actively stand up for truth and justice, it can seem implausible to them to embrace innocence. Embracing innocence means that one comes to each situation freshly without prejudice or power motives, ready to appreciate differences and realize that everyone has their truth. To do this it is necessary for Protectors to moderate their own overriding boundless instinctual energy and to notice how this energy defies boundaries, how it can be excessive, and how it impacts others. Protectors need to learn exactly how much power is appropriate in any given situation and to delay the tendency to go from urge to action in an all-or-nothing fashion.

The six requirements to which Protectors must commit

  • noticing and moderating intensity, excess, and impact;
  • delaying action and considering consequences;
  • observing the all-or-nothing style of attending;
  • realizing that true power comes from the appropriate or proportional application of force;
  • reducing denial and allowing for vulnerabilities; and
  • valuing the truth in opposites and differences.

The Basic Proposition and Key Themes of Type Nine: The Mediator

The original blissful state of unconditional love and union wherein everyone belongs equally goes into the background in a world that you perceive makes you unimportant or has you blend in. Consequently, you come to believe that instead you can gain belonging and comfort by attending to and merging with others and by dispersing energy into substitute objects. Concurrently, you develop inertia (self-forgetting) about your own priorities and limits. Attention naturally goes to others’ and environmental claims made upon you.

The central issue for healing

All of us, not just Mediators, can focus on the environment and experience ourselves as reacting primarily to others and events outside ourselves. For Mediators, the fact that they have lost touch with their inner separate self in favor of adapting to the environment and merging with others is the central issue. Mediators struggle fundamentally with gaining or reclaiming a separate self who feels loved equally to all others. Still, their main task is to become awake and alive to themselves, literally to love themselves from a personal reference point for which there is no substitute and to establish their own priorities and timelines instead of falling into comfortable secondary pursuits and getting resistant to over-influence.

The six key commitments to which Mediators must commit

  • practicing self-love that is equal to the love of others;
  • taking responsibility for own well-being and importance;
  • reclaiming a separate self;
  • establishing and adhering to own agenda and priorities;
  • welcoming in discomfort and conflict; and
  • recognizing anger in its many forms and using it as a signal of feeling violated.

Practices for Growth

The Three Laws of Behavior

Experience how these principles highlight the core tasks of personal development. To achieve lasting change and a new kind of mastery over your everyday life, make these simple yet profound ideas part of your thinking and your self-observation practice. This section is excerpted from The Essential Enneagram.

Law #1 Wherever your attention goes, your energy follows, rising and falling

with the demands of the situation.

Law #2 Managing your attention and energy requires self-observation. The

skill of self-observation is essential in order to be able to alter your attention

and your energy as desired, and, consequently, your behavior, too.

Law #3 Although self-observation becomes easier as you practice it, it never

becomes habitual. Self-observation requires continuing practice.

You can observe for yourself that these three laws of behavior are correct. These laws are central to managing your personality and are fundamental to giving your personal and work life more meaning and fulfillment. The limiting nature of unmanaged habitual personality reactions often leads to conflict, to suffering, and even to failure in both your personal and professional relationships.

Practice Using the Three Laws of Behavior

On the days you choose to do this practice, take a few minutes at the end of the day to review the following questions. Record your responses in a journal, if you like.

How did I do today at staying aware of where my attention and energy were focused?

When I reacted automatically to someone or something, was I able to bring back my awareness and redirect my attention and energy?

How can I practice managing my attention and energy tomorrow?

Awareness Practices

Presented here are awareness practices specific for each of the types. In these practices simply stop for a short period of time several times a day to self-reflect on where attention and energy are at the moment and have been during the interval of time since last stopping to self-reflect. Recall that it is especially useful to practice observing a specific aspect of habit of mind as this helps to “chunk down” observations to manageable size. Each practice also has a short statement explaining the basis of the practice. Here are the steps for the:

1. Select a time interval to stop and observe: every 30 minutes, every hour, or four times a day. A watch with an alarm reminder or a green dot reminder placed on it is helpful.

2. Select a length of time to observe for each time interval: 30 seconds, one minute, several minutes.

3. Decide on a specific facet of your type to observe. These are listed below according to type.

4. Self-reflect on the facet you chose to observe at the time interval selected for the length of time chosen. Ask yourself the awareness questions for the particular facet you chose to observe. Notice your responses, especially feelings and body responses and how these alter during the day. There is no action agenda in this exercise, only observation with as little judgment as possible. Still, notice that positive action often springs from awareness alone.

5. Do this awareness practice for several days on one particular facet of attention from the list that follows before switching to another facet. You might want to write the questions on a card so that they are readily available to you as reminders.

Practices for Growth | Type 1

Mind Going to Error to Correct. How has my attention been going to what is wrong or in error? To what is imperfect? To what needs improving? To mistakes? What sensations and feelings did I have in connection with these? What actions did I take or have to curb in connection with correcting errors and doing what is right? Basis: Ones’ coping strategy and worth is based on getting things right and improving, hence attention must go to errors to correct.

Inner Critical Voice. How have I been judging myself? Berating myself? Worrying? How constant was the voice of judgment present? How did I treat situations as good or bad? Right or wrong? How did my inner critic make me feel? Basis: Ones develop a relentless inner critic to support the mission of getting life “right.”

Judging Others and Being Judged. How did I judge others. What did this make me feel, do? Did I feel resentful? Similarly in what ways did I feel that I was being judged or criticized? Did I turn what could be seen as suggestions or advice into criticism? How did I react to what I perceived as criticism? Basis: Judgement is part of the critical mind at work. If you aren’t right you aren’t worthy, making you sensitive to self and others judgments.

Practices for Growth | Type 2

Sensing Important Others’ Needs and Altering to Affect These. How has my attention and energy going to others’ needs? In what ways have I acted on what others seemed to need? How quick was I to act on what I perceived needed help? In what ways did I alter or change myself to fit what others seemed to want? Basis: Twos believe that love comes from fulfilling needs and hoping to be fulfilled in turn, hence attention goes to needs.

Indispensability. In what ways did I feel or act as though I am indispensable? Take pride in being needed? Act like I know better what others need than they themselves do? In what ways was I giving “necessary” advice? Being overly helpful? Feeling others are dependent on me? Basis: Twos feel secure when their giving is valued and they can’t be rejected. If you are indispensable you won’t be rejected.

Own Needs and Desires. What did I do to support or nurture myself? Take care of my needs or desires? How was I at referencing back to myself compared to referencing to others? In what ways did I let myself receive from others? Did I give and receive even handedly? Basis: Twos often neglect their own needs and have difficulty receiving since value or worth comes from meeting the needs of others, not from being needy.

Practices for Growth | Type 3

Image. How has “looking good” been present during this past time interval? Creating an image? Adjusting and matching to others? Selling myself? Wanting recognition? (These can be quite subtle. Often we don’t think about image, we just do it.) Basis: Threes rely on positive feedback and a good image in order to feel good about themselves.

Focus On Task. How has getting things done been present during this past time interval? Focus on goals? Things to accomplish? Keeping active and busy? How have I been concentrating on the fastest, shortest way to get things done? Basis: For Threes the whole focus of attention is on things to accomplish since they believe that success is the basis for love and approval.

Feelings. What feelings have I had during this past time interval? What happened when a feeling came up? Did my attention go to feelings? What am I feeling now? What attention did I give to others’ feelings? Basis: Threes need to suspend or push aside feelings as feelings may get in the way of efficiency, accomplishment, and success.

Practices for Growth | Type 4

Longing For That Which Is Missing. How has my attention and energy being going to what is missing that seems important? How did longing and envy for something or someone come up? For fuller connection? For my ideals? How did I experience disappointment in myself? In others? Basis: Fours’ strategy for a fulfilling life is to have nothing of substance missing. Therefore, attention has to go to what is missing of importance.

Emotional Intensity. What have I been feeling during the past interval of time? What range of feelings? What intensity? Did my feelings go to extremes? Or did they stay appropriate to the situation? How did my feelings influence my action? Was I able to sustain a steady course of action in the presence of strong feelings? Basis: For Fours the depth of feelings say what is real, vital, and important which makes them susceptible to fluctuating feelings and moods.

Idealizing Specialness. How have I been drawn to that which seems special or unique? In what ways have I put down or disdained (perhaps quite subtly) the ordinary or mundane? Have I been feeling a pride in my being different? In eliteness? Or have I felt shame in being less than my ideal? In what ways have I ignored others and related events and situations back to me personally? Basis: Fours long to be special and unique as part of making up for an underlying belief in their own deficiency and sense of lack.

Practices for Growth | Type 5

Reflexively Retracting. Have I been quick to withdraw from contact? From claims or demands upon my time and energy? Did I contract into myself? How have I reacted when I felt intruded upon? How did I protect my boundaries? Basis: Fives’ coping strategy is to guard against intrusion and conserve energy in a world that they believe that will want too much or give too little.

Detaching to Observe. How have I been mainly thinking and analyzing situations? Was I trying to figure things out in advance in order to gain predictability? Was I watching “from a distance?” Did I fall into analysis paralysis? And did I “unhook” from feelings and go up into my mind? Basis: For fives detaching to observe provides protection from demands and expectations which might lead to the feared being drained of energy.

Limiting Wants and Desires. How might I have been minimizing my wants and desires (especially compared to others)? Was I even aware of wants and desires? Did I mainly want privacy (to be left alone)? What, if anything, did I ask for from others? Basis: Fives believe that if you don’t want you won’t lack. If you can get along with little you won’t be vulnerable or dependent.

Practices for Growth | Type 6

Fear. How did fear and anxiety come up? How did I get alarmed or apprehensive? What did I avoid because it felt threatening or fearful (phobic direction)? What did I challenge because it felt threatening or fearful (counterphobic direction)? How was I over-cautious (phobic) or under cautious (counter phobic)? Basis: Sixes believe that the world is a dangerous place and you just can’t trust in. Attention going to what seems threatening is a natural process.

Imagination. What situations did I amp up or magnify in my mind? What negative spin or worst case scenario thinking preoccupied me? What inferences and implications about things occurred to me? What felt potentially threatening? What did I project from my mind onto others? Basis: Mistrust and fear naturally lead to worst case thinking and amplification of hazards.

Doubt/Contrary Thinking. How did internal questioning and doubting take place in my internal dialogue? How was I a devil’s advocate? How was I ambivalent over a course of action or about a person? Basis: Sixes’ coping strategy involves questioning, doubting and testing which only makes sense when you lose faith and fall into mistrust.

Practices for Growth | Type 7

Planning for possibilities. In what ways did new, interesting ideas come to mind? How did various positive options and opportunities absorb my attention? My energy? How was I interrelating and interconnecting different ideas and action possibilities? How was I off in the future, away from the present moment? Basis: For Sevens, limitation and restriction is like death. The whole strategy is to keep life up with attention going to positive options and opportunities.

Self-referencing. In what ways and how much did my attention keep going to what I wanted, felt, or thought about things? To my positions and opinions? Did I tend to “forget” others’ feelings or needs? How did I respond to blocks to my plans, ideas, or actions? How did I deal with these? Basis: Keeping life up and positive requires referencing to your own plans and desires. Consequently, attention just doesn’t naturally go to others’.

Reacting to pain or distress. Did I notice distress in others or myself? How did I react to “negative” events, feelings, or feedback? What events during this time period would it have been “natural” to experience pain or distress” How did I avoid distress and hurts in others and myself? Basis: Seven’s attention just doesn’t go to pain or distress. This would undo the basic coping strategy of keeping life up and “boundless.”

Practices for Growth | Type 8

Impulse or Urge to Action. How did my big energy come up and get expressed? Did I just “go for things” I wanted without thinking? Was I quick to anger or confrontation? Did I take direct action when delaying action and reflection would have been wiser (better)? Did I mainly just assert my position, my view of justice or right? Basis: Eights’ coping strategy involves gaining respect and protection through assertive action that is manifested in direct expression without much restraint.

Impact on Others. How did I effect others? Did I notice the impact of my energy and expression on others? Did I drive anyone away, evoke resistance or confrontation, cause anyone to back away or go quiet? How did I assert control and power? Eights, in expressing their big energy and truth, don’t readily notice their impact on others.

Vulnerability. How did my attention go away from fears and susceptibilities to be wounded? How did I forget to be sensitive or tender toward others? Did I notice any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in myself? Basis: The mechanism of denial allows direct immediate action, but also keeps Eights from experiencing their own vulnerability and softer side.

Practices for Growth | Type 9

Pulled By Environmental Claims. In what ways did I just go along with others’ agendas? How did I forget myself by merging into others? In what ways did I get side tracked into doing secondary pursuits such as chores and familiar or habitual things? What happened to my real priorities? Basis: Feeling unimportant or needing to blend in as a way of coping, Nines’ attention goes to environmental claims and not to themselves.

Indecision and Resistance. Have I been trying to sort out all the different points of view? Going over equally compelling details or claims?

How did feeling resistant come up? Dragging my feet? How has alternating between complying and opposing been present? How did anger come up? Stubbornness? Basis: Nines see others’ views, but are inattentive to their own views. This leads to indecision and stubbornness because there is a person inside.

Comfort/Discomfort. How have I been influenced by wanting things to be comfortable? Familiar? How did I respond when tension or something discomforting came up? When conflict emerged? Basis: Nines settle for going along to get along as coping strategy to bring comfort and satisfaction. Conflict naturally interferes with this strategy.

Why the Enneagram?

Its value in personal development, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Who needs another typology!

First, the Enneagram represents a truly profound and powerful way to understand personality precisely because the Enneagram gets right to the core of motivation. The Enneagram is fundamental and universal. Each type has a simple basic proposition about what is necessary for survival and satisfaction in life and a corresponding pattern of attention or set of perceptual filters that determine what is experienced and what isn’t. These motivations, beliefs, and patterns operate outside of conscious awareness. Everyone just unknowingly operates from their own particular stance, doing the best they can.

Second, because the Enneagram is such a fundamental and powerful way to understand personality, it provides numerous, often immediate, practical applications for personal development in such diverse fields as education, business, intimate relationships, and family life.

Third, the Enneagram as taught through the narrative inquiry method is observationally based, and thus is self-verifiable, lending itself to scientific psychology. Through self-observation, one can begin to see for oneself the patterns proposed by the Enneagram. The active role played by each individual in noticing his or her own patterns helps create conscious awareness, which leads to conscious conduct.

Fourth, the Enneagram connects the observable psychological level of life to the spiritual level of life and shows how to integrate the two. No other psychological tool is as efficient at highlighting the links between these two levels of being.

Fifth, the Enneagram teaching recognizes three centers of intelligence: the mind, heart, and body. Often the intelligence of the mind or intellect is so elevated that the other two vital intelligences get neglected. The Enneagram not only identifies the three centers as equally important, it suggests ways to achieve a more balanced life through balancing one’s use of the centers.

Sixth, the Enneagram is a dynamic system that accounts for changes under various circumstances and explains why we are all uniquely different.

Seventh, the Enneagram provides a universal language, like mathematics. The language of type underlies race, religion, nationality, culture, gender, and group identity in any form. This universality helps foster greater understanding of what is common to all. This also means that the Enneagram understandings enhance, affirm, and augment other psychologies and training methods. As an ancient symbol, the Enneagram represents the cosmic idea of unity in multiplicity. Thus, while no two individuals are alike, the Enneagram teachings show that we share specific discernible patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior, thus opening up paths to mutual understanding, despite our differences.

Eighth, ultimately the Enneagram helps us understand the limiting personality “box” each of us is in so that we can get out of our “box,” or, at the very least, understand and enlarge the particular “box” that constrains us. Gaining a sense of how we unknowingly and automatically constrain ourselves is of great importance in developing healthy relationships, and in leading more productive and fulfilling lives.

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